TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG; 19 June 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550619-TC-JN-01; CL 29: 334-337
TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG
Chelsea, 19 june, 1855—
I enclose the little slip of Museum Library Questions, such as it is,—having no time to elaborate it better. See what you can do with it, without too much trouble.— I have spent the whole day, looking in vain thro' that unspeakable Preuss's edition of the Oeuvres for a Poem of F.'s (half prose half verse Narrative rather) about that Excursion of his to Strasburg in August 1740;1—and for my life I cannot find it! There is no use in execrating and obtesting: I must do without the thing (till it tumble up again), and try to keep my sanity. But the methodic virtues of my friends Preuss & Co are sure of a lifelong memory with one poor individual.
Yours ever truly /
Voltaire is all I much want, out of that bundle of questions;—item Bourcet;2 and the contemporary Annuals (or Newspapers,—into which you might look? Try during Septr or Octr 1740, for example; whether anything about Herstal and the Bishop of Liege?)3—
1. Arnold's Mill: Does the Mill still exist?4 Segebusch's Book5 is in the Museum here; but it is worth little,—tho' I own still to a tendency towards his side of the question. Among all the Judges, Advocates, Reporters &c &c was there ever clear evidence got upon this fundamental point of points, Whether Arnold did actually lose water by the Fishpond, or did not lose any but got it all filtered back to him? I cannot anywhere find that such evidence was ever sought. It seems to me the soul of the whole Inquiry; the Yes or No as to Friedrich's conduct in that affair.6
2. Voltaire's last residence in Berlin: a great many points continue obstinately dark upon that affair; and, in French Books, I perceive, there is no knowledge, and none need be sought (of course).— Are there any German accounts of it, that could be purchased or borrowed, or at least indicated? In particular, any account of the Hirsch Trial; Voltaire's Lawsuit with his Jew, about those Steuerscheine and the Pledged Diamonds?7 At lowest, What were the Steuerscheine; in which of the Saxon Treaties (or where; and attainable in what Book) is the stipulation about those Scheine to be seen,—that one may judge of Voltaire's exact degree of criminality? Varnhagen's Pamphlet on the Frankfurt Business is here and known to me.8
3. Old Hymn (referred to in Preuss):
4. Ascanien. The old Anhalts are Lords of Ascanien und Ballenstädt; there is much talk of the Ascanische Haus &c &c: what on earth is Ascanien? A place seemingly (as Ballenstädt is or was):11 but in no Büsching, Michaelis12 or other Book, can I find the least indication where.
5. Trenck (Preuss ii, 299): Clear allusion, it seems, to Princess Amélie; what are the schauderhafte [shocking] things which Preuss omits there;13 or in what part of Trenck's Book14 do they stand? Again (Preuss ii, 300), what does Küster15 (Offizierlesebuch 5te Theil) say about the “help” which she and others gave to Trenck?— On the whole is there any attainable or extant account never so slight, of Princess Amélie, or of any of the other Princesses or Princes? Hitherto she and the whole of them continue diaphanous spectres for me. An entirely contemptible Vie de Prince Henri16 is the only express Book upon such a subject that I have yet got hold of.— Schade [A pity], that all should continue gespensterärtig [spectral] in the environment of the Great Fh!—
6. Weisse Frau Dissertation: I have seen marked in an Antiquer Catalogue the title of a Thesis or Academic Dissertation on the Berlin-Palace Weisse Frau.—could Hr Preuss give me the correct Title of it?17 I suppose nobody in this age has read it or ever will.
7. Seckendorf's Leben (Briefe &c abt 1793?): Can a Copy of that Book be got?18 Why did Friedrich ultimately put him into prison? He had cause enough to hate him, as the ruiner of his domestic life:19 but what had he specially done when at last laid hold of?20—
8. Hesse the Finance Official whom Friedrich-Wilhelm hanged;21 any details about him, except what are in Stenzel22 iii, 460: who is “Benekendorf‘” (there referred to):23 what is the exact date, at least?
9. Wolf, of Halle: The actual Rescript, threatening to hang him, if he did not go in 48 hours (Stenzel iii, 482),—where is that to be found?24
—— Enough for the present;25 and let not Profr Preuss take too much trouble, on these rather insignificant queries. More and weightier may be in store.